Frescoes, florals, and fabrics, oh my! To possibly offset the dreariness of the pandemic, this year’s edition of Cersaie – which took place September 27 through October 1 in Bologna, Italy – was popping with exuberant colors, intricate patterns, and tactile surfaces. Ceramic experimentation was at an all-time high with manufacturers introducing show-stopping tile designs; collaborations with world-class designers like Paola Navone, Elena Salmistraro, and Ferrucio Laviani; and innovative solutions like porcelain cooktops.
Dovetailing with a ubiquitous feeling of romanticism at the show, there was also an overwhelmingly warm color palette. Pastels could be found in nearly every booth with colors like sage, mint, rose, and sky blue, which can add a soothing and organic effect to interiors. It also fits into larger color trends in the industry as companies like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams announced their Color of the Year as October Mist and Evergreen Fog, respectively.
Italian ceramic production has reached incredibly impressive levels of high definition printing, which may be why surface design is the new frontier in tile. From rounded edges that simulate ancient stone to three-dimensional finishes and low relief that add depth and structure, Italian manufacturers have invested heavily in new technologies this past year to create ceramic and porcelain tiles that break through the third dimension.
In the 17th century, the Baroque style dominated European art and architecture, producing sculptural buildings and furniture defined by a sense of movement and grandeur. Similarly, these tiles are full of exuberance, particularly when produced on floor to ceiling porcelain slabs. Many Italian manufacturers are producing dramatic marble looks with striking colors and heavy veining while a few offer luxurious tiles with gold detailing and reflective surfaces.
With a culture steeped in design and craftsmanship, Italian manufacturers frequently reference classical patterns and historical styles in their collections. This season, some companies conjured the look of luxurious floors that can be found in Palladian villas or Dutch houses built centuries ago. Meanwhile others added a modern twist to ceramic traditions from maiolica in patchwork compositions to mid-century patterns with slip-resistant finishes.
With extra-large sizes and super thin profiles, ceramic tile is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative to wallpaper. Many manufacturers offer large portfolios of patterns to choose from, showcasing the artistic capabilities of Italian designers combined with the durable advantages of porcelain. At this year’s show, large florals and historical patterns like toile, chinoiserie and damask were very popular while Italian manufacturers continue to experiment with marble looks, offering stunning visual effects like bookmatching and veins that continue across multiple slabs.
These trend-setting products from Ceramics of Italy members, and hundreds of others from Italian tile manufacturers, are now available in the North American market through an extensive network of tile distributors and retailers. For additional products and inspiration, visit the product gallery on ceramica.info. For information on individual companies across the Italian ceramic sector, visit the new Italian Ceramic Finder.